By Erik Uebelacker
Australian Troy Fumo finished his second fight of the 2021 IMMAF World Championships in style.
Fumo submitted Iraqi opponent Ali Kadhim Al Mayahi in the Round of 16 on Tuesday morning with a rarely-seen Von Flue choke to catch the attention of everyone following the action on Cage 3 at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena at Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi.
The strawweight’s coaches could be heard cageside shouting for their fighter to complete the choke as Al Mayahi held onto a guillotine from the bottom. His opponent’s persistence with his own submission attempt opened the door for Fumo to turn the tables and claim a submission of his own.
“The head coach of Australia, Brian (Ebersole), was screaming it to me,” Fumo told IMMAF.org backstage after his victory.
“I will be honest, it’s one of my low percentage submissions. But I trusted my coach and I went forward, and I listened to his instructions. And he basically walked me through the finish.
“I saw last night that there was an early contender for submission of the event. I wanted to put my name in that (list) and really make a statement and get everyone’s attention early in the competition.”
As the 2020 Oceania Open strawweight champion, Fumo is one of the more seasoned fighters in the Championships, and he said that his experience was a huge advantage heading into this year’s tournament.
“I’ve done the World Championships, back in 2019,” Fumo said.
“It was a very similar atmosphere, very similar environment. I came into this competition more composed and less shocked by everything.
“I try to explain to the fighters back home in Australia, and I can’t even put into words the experience you get from this competition. And definitely, that experience paid off tonight.”
As part of a nine-fighter Australian lineup for this year’s Championships, Fumo says he is thankful for the opportunity to represent for his nation at this year’s tournament.
“Well, it’s the only opportunity I ever get to represent my country in this sport,” he said.
“Being a part of something bigger than yourself by representing a nation, there’s no other competition where you’re going to get that.”
Fumo also noted the camaraderie of his fellow teammates at the World Championships.
“Usually, we don’t get a chance to mingle interact with each other,” he said.
“We’re busy training in our own gyms.
“This brings us together. I’ve still stayed in contact with everyone from Team Australia that I’ve that I’ve come across.
“It just brings you so much closer together, and you really find those bonds and those relationships that last forever.”
Fumo has a tough task ahead of him, with the Aussie set to face RMMAU’s Farkhod Rakhmonaliev in the quarter-finals, knowing that victory will take him one huge step closer to bringing home Australia’s first gold medal at an IMMAF World Championships.
“It would be an achievement of a lifetime and something that I can treasure for the for the rest of my life,” Fumo said.
“Especially with these past this past few years with lockdowns and COVID restrictions, it just really shows the people that are in this competition, they’re the true best of the best in the amateur scene. They’re the ones who were committed, even through these hard times.”